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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One in 100

The science here is not exact, but I've found that we need to receive between 50 and 100 initial inquiries and resumes before finding one person to hire. Your chances for success are greater if you know us directly and are referred/recommended by a current employee. Here, we modify the screening process somewhat to accelerate the process but to ensure that you are truly qualified to work in this organization.

Now, does this selectivity mean that only one to two in 100 people in the potential employee universe are good enough for us? Not really. This is because most really good potential employees are already working -- elsewhere! You would be dumb to give up a great job that you really like to just jump ship and join us, especially if the starting pay here is less than what you are presently earning.

In other words, if, instead of advertising, we decided to go out and approach directly people who we think would be good to work with us (and we had all the necessary information to be sure they would be right), I doubt that we would move more than one in 10 -- and the costs of selecting and assessing which 10 to call would be incredibly high.

We can increase our success rate in finding new employees by:

  • Advertising more (ideally in free or relatively inexpensive places, but if they are effective, price doesn't matter); to attract more applications;
  • Attracting more referrals;
  • Lowering our standards;
  • Waiting for the recession to get really bad (of course, then the question is whether we will have enough business to justify hiring more employees).
Hmmm. Do these numbers tell you something about marketing?

You undoubtedly are looking for the perfect clients -- the ones who will pay your full price, on time, and without complaining -- and who are so enthusiastic they will refer everyone they know to you.

However, out of all the people and potential clients in the world, only a few are suitable, and, of that number, even fewer are ready to do business with you.

Clearly, your best results will be from your current clients (especially if you've selected them -- or they've selected you) carefully. Former clients can be great if they've left on good terms (but, just like former employees, if they left because of poor performance, you really shouldn't expect them to be any better when they return a second time.)

Advertising, even if it is thoughtful, targeted and resourceful, will attract many tire kickers and unsuitable potential clients -- including people rejected by your competitors. But more advertising will attract more interest, and you can play the numbers game to achieve results.

Referrals and recommendations of course are gold, as long as you are comfortable with the referring person/organization, and use some common-sense in vetting the referrals.

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